The German slalom sailor Oliver-Tom Schliemann reports from his journey to the 2014 Awaza PWA World Cup in Turkmenistan on the Caspian Sea. And it is a journey into the unknown, a blind spot on the windsurfing spot map, which gets discovered.
They say it is the first international sports event ever hosted in Awaza, Turkmenistan. Awaza is a modern tourism zone and one of the favorite projects of the president of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. The plan is to build 60 hotels until 2020, even a skiing center and a bike racing center are planned, with a total investment volume of 5 billion US$. While Turkmenistan remains one of the world’s most repressive and isolated countries, this newly built region should be the window to the world in the future. But until this region will be a flourishing tourism zone a lot of things need to happen and we hope that not only the environmental issues in the Caspian Sea will be solved until then.
Human Rights Watch 2014 Report | Freedom of Press Ranking 2014 | Article in Radio Free Europe about the PWA event | Article in Radio Free Europe about Awaza | Ecosystem Caspian Sea | Environmental Issues Caspian Sea | Travel Article about Turkmenistan in the UK Telegraph | “Jennifer Lopez performs in Turkmenistan” by Rolling Stone
Oliver-Tom is 23 years old and has won already several Youth World and Vice World Champion titles in different classes (Aloha, Formula, Mistral One Design, etc.). He has been on the PWA tour for some years and at the moment he concentrates, besides studying and working in his father’s windsurfing center in Eckernförde, on organizing his Beginner2Winner Academy for the summer.
Links: Facebook | Beginner2Winner Academy
Text by Oliver-Tom Schliemann
Another long day ended here in Turkmenistan.
The skippersmeeting was again at 6am, but this time with less wind than yesterday. After one hour of standby the crew decided to give us some hours of sleep until the next announcement at 10am. So, everybody went for a nap.
Then we had to wait the whole day for the wind to kick in at 5pm. The organization was able to run the semis and another girls final. Many sailors have stomach problems and we also still fight against the heat. So I think that many sailors are just sailing with 60%.
There is not much to do here while waiting, because you can’t go outside the resort and the next town is about a 20 min cardrive away.
Some interesting facts about Turkmenistan: every citizen gets an amount of petrol for free everyday and they don’t pay taxes. Countries are rated for their amount of oil with a scale of 0-10 and all big oil countries are rated between 5-6, but Turkmenistan has a rate of 10. Also half of the population of Turkmenistan works for the governement, so it’s easy for the president to control his people. More facts to come.
When the wind finally arrived in the evening, the conditions where again very light but better than yesterday, but just before the finals of the first elimination the wind began to turn offshore and got lighter. Unfortunatly the winners final was cancelled. The losers final was also started and all competitors were pushing hard to get free winds, so Jordy Vonk and Enes Yilmazer went too early over the start line. After this everybody was sent home and released for the day. Tomorrow the skippers is at 8am.
Hopefully we can finish this elimination and do some more.
Today there is just a short report from Turkmenistan.
Waiting waiting waiting…
The skippersmeeting was at 8am. For the whole day all sailors where waiting for the wind to kick in but it never did. We hoped for the thermic in the evening but nothing happend. Most of the riders were chillin in the lobby and booking flights for the next events. Tomorrow the forecast even looks worse than today, but we all hope for the thermic in the afternoon, as it looks as tomorrow might be the last competition day.
This is because 47 PWA riders are on the same flight on Monday morning 4am from Ashgabat to Instanbul and there is no way to get all gear there with the small plane from Turkmenbashi to Ashgabat. So the plan from the organisation is to send a truck with all the gear from Yelken to Ashgabat in the early morning, because the truck needs 12 hours. The only problem is that on Sunday morning it looks like there is a small chance of some wind, so let’s see how the orga will decide.
Now we all preapre to watch the legendary footbal match between France and Germany!
“no” cult of personality, huh? it’s worth to check every single picture on pwa’s site.
this one is epic. the body language of bodyguards, interpreter, president, the happy faces of the sailors. all in one. epic.
There was wind before the event there will be wind after the event (looking at windfinder). It’s just like always; the best way to ensure having no wind is to organise a windsurf event.